TRANSNET National Ports Authorityâ€™s (TNPA) Port of Port Elizabeth said that repairs to the tanker berth are progressing as scheduled, since they began almost three weeks ago.
According to a TNPA media statement, the berth has been closed since February 18, this year, to enable repairs to be carried out on the corroded steel structures supporting the berthâ€™s access walkway. â€œPlans are in place to have it reopened once it has been recertified by the structural engineer, targeted for March 25, this year.
â€œThe repairs entail strengthening of the vertical columns by installation of additional vertical I-sections connected to the existing steel piles.
â€œThe new I-sections will be bolted at intervals on either side of the flanges for the full length of each pile. A total of nine columns will be strengthened both above and below the water,â€? the statement read.
Port manager, Rajesh Dana, said TNPA was very pleased with the progress that the contractor had made, despite some delays experienced due to weather conditions affecting the ability to complete underwater works.
â€œOur weekly meetings with the oil companies have ensured that they are kept abreast of progress.
â€œThis has enabled them to keep measure of their stock in the port, thus ensuring that the promise made to the public of uninterrupted fuel supply to Nelson Mandela Bay during the shutdown is kept,â€? said Dana.
Siganeko Magafela of the South African Petroleum Industry Association said, â€œSAPIA can confirm that the closure of the berth has not negatively impacted the fuel supply into Nelson Mandela Bay.
â€œThe oil companies have ensured that contingency plans were in place to deliver continual supply to the region,â€? Magafela said.
Dana commended the manner in which the oil companies had supported TNPA in its work to ensure that the tanker berth complied with the required safety standards for optimum operation. He further assured that the repairs were receiving priority attention from TNPA and the contractor would endeavour earlier completion, if possible, considering unpredictability of weather conditions.